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Can You Cut It?
For those in the professional world, students conjure up images of binge drinking, lying in until noon and clothing worn in a style no-one but them can achieve or understand.
For the students at the fashion colleges over the UK however, the ride has been less than easy over the past few months as the Clotheshow Live and Skillfast-UK have been holding heats of the ‘Can You Cut It?’ competition with the final taking place last week in London at The Clothworkers Hall.
Supporters, teachers and the odd pen poised journalist, including myself, were invited to watch as an assortment of evening wear, corporate wear and casual wear were paraded down the catwalk to the beats straight from the top ten.
Making the grade
With 55 colleges and 234 students competing in the various heats taking place in Huddersfield, London, Birmingham and Newcastle it should come as no surprise to learn that the prize is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any budding talent in the fashion and textile industry.
The 40 winners of the regional heats will all go through to the Clotheshow Live event at the NEC in Birmingham in December where their designs will be paraded in front of 5000 people. Judges will then select one winner who will receive a £9000 Clotheshow Live educational bursary or £3000 towards professional development. The winner’s college will also receive £1000.
Pens at the ready
A panel of seven judges were also seated with an eagle eyed view of the catwalk to mark the designs and sketches including, Sue McLaughlin, Head of Production at Hobbs Ltd who became Production Manager at just 23. Imtaz Khaliq is the Bespoke Tailor at Imtaz whose clients have included Michelle Pfeiffer and Dina Carroll. Adrien Parry Robert is the Senior Lecturer at London College of Fashion and has also designed for his own label.
Catherine Williams is the Designer at Posh Frocks Couture and has gained national status after designing the first organic wedding gown. Krishna Jethwa won the Topshop Womenswear award at London Graduate Fashion Week 2004. Ann Carling is the Designer at Ann Carling and Rocio Calderon is the Creative Designer at Unlimited Design.
Let the show begin
After relaxing with a cup of coffee the presentation of the students work began, allowing us all to gasp with awe as most, if not all of the outfits marched down the catwalk could have rivalled some of those seen on the catwalks in Fashion weeks over the world.
Ana Maria Pataquiho designed a suit with layering that would catch anyone’s eye at work while Barbara Bass went for a couture outfit with floating chiffon and leggings with plenty of ruching.
It was clear that some students had taken the ability to market the outfits into consideration as both Hannah Bartlett’s and Hayley Bannister’s corporate wear outfits of stylish shirts and a tweed skirt suit were definitely something you might not see every day on the High Street but certainly something anyone could wear to work and perform their job in.
Starting from scratch
Modelling over and the students gathered for photo shoots before the Garment Technology Masterclass began with Sophie Glover, the Senior Garment Technologist for Topshop.
Sophie was at the event to tell everyone exactly what is involved in order to get a piece of clothing that can start off just as an idea right through to selling that item on the shop floor, factors which all young design enthusiasts need to consider before embarking on their own career.
PR officer from Skillfast-UK, Emma Campbell believes the event was a huge success, “The competition is always very popular with many students wanting to take place, not just for the prestigious prize but for the experience of seeing their designs on show and seeing the reactions they receive.”
“At Skillfast-UK we are always trying to maximise skills in the apparel, footwear and textiles industry and the competition helps to recognise that,” commented Emma.